Diane Lane is cool. Smart, sexy and able to carry a movie without a male counterpart, what’s not to like? I even took a break from my award nominated movie watching to go check out her new film, Untraceable. No small sacrifice given the fact that living in Japan means all the nominated movies won’t make it to Tokyo until at least the summer, with the exception of Sweeney Todd–the locals love watching Johnny Depp the way they love eating raw fish. Johnny’s gruesome musical is in Japanese theaters now.

In Untraceable, Ms. Lane a.k.a Mrs. Josh Brolin a.k.a. Queen Barbra Streisand’s daughter-in-law, plays an F.B.I. agent. How cool is that? You’re Diane Lane. You’re an Oscar nominated actor. You’re married to that hunky, husky, “man’s man” Josh Brolin. Your father-in-law is James Brolin, that guy who ran the hotel in Hotel and the father who had to keep his family together after the devil popped up in the basement in The Amityville Horror. And to top it all off, your mother-in-law is none other than Barbra Streisand! People who need People herself! How many gay men wouldn’t kill to be in Ms. Lane’s shoes?

So in Untraceable, Diane plays an F.B.I. agent in charge of catching this sadistic seriel killer (aren’t they all?) who gets his rocks off by killing people slowly and creatively on his untraceable (get it?) website, Kill With Me. The more people that visit the site, the faster the person dies or in this case fries.

The killer has a motive and it ties in neatly with why he is acting like a little shit run amok in Portland, Oregon. Incidentally, the director uses Portland as a secondary character. It’s gloomy, rainy and filled with homes in desperate need of an HGTV makeover. I visited Portland once as a kid. It’s a beautiful city with amazing greenery and rolling hills.  It’s not Seattle on sleeping pills.

Ms. Lane has a partner of sorts in Colin Hanks a.k.a. Tom Hanks’ son. You might remember him from that dumb movie, Orange County. I caught part of it on cable last year and let me tell you it had nepotism written all over it. What was Jack Black thinking?

Anyway, in this movie, Colin plays Ms. Lane’s work colleague/good friend. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that in these types of movies, if you’re the partner or close work colleague of the main character, you might as well call the meat wagon yourself because you’re character ain’t gonna make it to the end credits.

Tom Hanks’ son doesn’t do a bad job in this movie. He doesn’t stand out in any way but he doesn’t get in the way either. He’s an impish little ghost with sad eyes who arguably meets the grizzliest death in the movie–think spa treatment gone wrong. I say “arguably” because while this movie only has a handful of deaths, they’re all ghastly, especially for a Diane Lane movie. It’s Under the Tuscan Sun meets Hannibal Lecter.

The ending had my mom grabbing my hand and muttering something as she turned to look away from the screen while people shifted both uncomfortably and excitedly in their chairs. If the movie’s message is about how we as a society are basically an accessory to violence or at least complicit, it was lost on this audience. But Diane Lane as F.B.I. badass? Yes! The movie is formulaic but fun. And you’ll never look at lawnmowers the same way again.

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